17th, May 2012 - 08:37 PM
Right now there is an exhibition about Degas and the nude at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris. It shows Degas development from the traditional nude as a classical training to a modern depiction of everyday women in their private surroundings. As a young student he met the french painter Ingres whom Degas greatly admired and asked him for some advice. Ingres replied: »Draw lines, young man, draw lines; whether from nature or from memory. Then you will be a good artist.« His fellow artist knew Degas to be a relentless worker and over the years he created an immense body of work. Isn’t it nice to know, that Degas mastery didn’t grow on trees but was the result of great effort?
I was very much impressed by Degas‹ monotypes. For Degas it was as much a favorite medium as pastel. In 1906 he remarked « that if he could live his life over again, he would do nothing but black and white. And that black and white alone are sufficient to make a masterpiece.« Well, the monotypes in this exhibition prove him right.
On some monotypes he added pastel on top of them which you can see below. Degas used pastels by the french manufacturer Roche obout which I wrote in an earlier blogpost.
An excellent catalogue is published in high quality.
24th, February 2010 - 11:10 PM
2010 © Astrid Volquardsen
The idea for the monotypes first came to me during an exhibition visit in Paris. Reading some information about Degas‹ work, it struck me, that some of his pastels were done over monotype. Degas applied an oily ink to a metal plate with a brush or rag and put it through a press. After that he used a mixture of pastel, gouache, and distemper to color his monotypes. I was surprised to learn that some of Degas‹ pastels were even done directly over oil paint. Unfortunately I can’t recall which those pictures are. (Imagine you‹re in Paris and have caught a stomach flu!)
So I thought why not try oil paint instead of oily ink.
I just put some oilpaint (Sennelier) on an extra plate, added turpentine, and applied this with a brush an a piece of glass. Instead of a press I simply used an ink roller.
I tried various grounds for the monotype, but the Pastelmat seems to take it on best.
I varied the mixture of turpentine and oil paint and it seems best to work with pastels the more the oil paint is thinned down with turpentine.
The bottom right was done with the most amount of turpentine.
2010 © Astrid Volquardsen
I waited for about a week till I applied the pastel, but I’m not sure if there won’t be some alterations. I’ve got the feeling the one monotype with the most »pure« oil paint alters already. (I guess, every experienced oil painter could have told me that.)
A number of Degas‹ monotypes have suffered from cracking and subsequent flaking. Well, they still looked beautiful to me.